References of "Focant, Jean-François"
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See detailValidated ready-to-use GC-MS/MS method for dioxin analysis in food and feed following the new EU Regulations
L'Homme, Benjamin ULg; Sandy, Chris; Scholl, Georges ULg et al

in Organohalogen Compounds (in press)

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See detailExploring the volatome of different cancer cell lines
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Pesesse, Romain ULg; Bertrand, Virginie ULg et al

in European Respiratory Journal (2015), 46(suppl 59), 3975

As reported by the American Cancer Society, lung cancers have the highest death rate, compared to other types of cancer. The main reason is the lack of early stage non-invasive screening methods. Indeed ... [more ▼]

As reported by the American Cancer Society, lung cancers have the highest death rate, compared to other types of cancer. The main reason is the lack of early stage non-invasive screening methods. Indeed, the death rate of the other most abundant cancers is decreasing due to the implementation of large-scale population screening techniques. It is believed that the death rate of lung cancer could be lowered by developing and implementing more efficient diagnostic methods1. A large number of diseases appear to have a volatile signature present in exhaled air. In practice, analytical breath profiling offers solutions for early detection of different kind of lung infections2. For example, cystic fibrosis patients show a different volatile organic compound (VOC) profile because of the bacterial colonization that localizes in their lungs. A similar behavior is observed for patient suffering from lung cancer. However, the list of recognized volatile biomarkers of lung cancer is still scarce and could be improved. In spite of this, the biological variability of exhaled air profile makes the biomarkers identification challenging. In the hope of contributing to a better understanding, we used comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time of light mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS) to investigate the headspace of cancer cells. A procedure has been developed to sample cell culture headspace. After proper data treatment, univariate and multivariate statistics were compared for isolation of potential cancer biomarkers. Further tentative identification was also carried out by using high-accuracy MS analyzers as detection techniques. 1 Siegel, R. et al. Cancer statistics 2013 2 Di Francesco, F. et al. Microchemical Journal 2005 . [less ▲]

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See detailCadaveric VOC profiling from human internal cavity
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Varlet, Vincent; Grabherr, Silke et al

Conference (2015, September)

The processes tacking place during body decomposition is not yet totally understood. Soon after death, the different parts of a body start to decompose. This phenomenon conduct to the production of gases ... [more ▼]

The processes tacking place during body decomposition is not yet totally understood. Soon after death, the different parts of a body start to decompose. This phenomenon conduct to the production of gases inside or around the different organs. These gases reservoirs can be located using imaging tools as post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) and subsequently sample (1). The analysis of very volatile compounds inside these internal cavities already provides useful information for legal medicine investigations (2). It gives valuable information about the potential cause of death avoiding the invasiveness of the autopsy procedure. This project wanted to perform an untargeted screening of this internal cavity in order to monitor the decomposition process taking place inside a cadaver. The analytical method was base on previously used techniques for complete decomposition analysis (3-4). This study wanted to investigate the volatile organic compounds (VOC) mixture present in these cavities. To achieve this task, we applied solid phase micro-extraction (SPME) combined with two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution time of flight mass spectrometer (GC×GC-HRTOFMS). The first point was to demonstrate the ability of GC×GC-HRTOFMS to detect these VOC. The combination of different statistical approaches conducted to establishment of potential biomarkers list. Base on these biomarkers identification, different decomposition stages were observed for different organs in the same body. The cardiac area seems to decompose faster than the other tissues studied in this project. References 1. Levy A.D. et al., Am. J. Forensic Med. Pathol. (2010) 31, 12-17. 2. Varlet V. et al., Anal. Chim. Acta (2013) 784, 42-46. 3. Stadler S. et al., Anal Chem (2013) 85, 998–1005. 4. Stefanuto et al. CPC (2014) 79, 786-789. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigation of volatile mixture emit by human tissues degradation
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Dubois, Lena; Lloyd, Rebecca et al

Conference (2015, September)

Human rescue dog unit are the more efficient tool to locate cadaver or people trap after a natural disaster. However, the dog training process is long and expensive. Dog trainers are always looking for a ... [more ▼]

Human rescue dog unit are the more efficient tool to locate cadaver or people trap after a natural disaster. However, the dog training process is long and expensive. Dog trainers are always looking for a better understanding of the dog olfaction matching to improve their training methods (1). During these training sessions, dogs are usually trained to locate body pieces due to the difficulty to obtain a full cadaver. Moreover, some training aid solution are available but their compositions and their efficiencies are not worldwide recognized (2). To answer these questions, this project is monitoring the headspace human organs during the decomposition process. Five different organs are used: heart, lung, liver, kidney and blood. Every organs are sampled in triplicates and let to decompose in glass jar. Regularly, the headspace of the jar is sample by dynamic pumping to sorbent tubes that will further be injected on comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography system (GC×GC). GC×GC is a powerful analytical tool that allows the complete resolution of “the smell of death”, i.e. the decomposition odor (3-4). The compounds identified in the organs headspace can be compared with the one coming from decomposition studies on full bodies to establish a biomarkers list that will further be used for dog training solution elaboration. References 1. Hoffman et al. FSI (2009) 186, 6-13. 2. Stadler et al. J. Chrom. A. 1255, 202-206. 3. Stefanuto et al. CPC (2014) 79, 786-789. 4. Perrault et al. J. Sep. Sci. (2015) 38, 73-80. [less ▲]

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See detailDetection of decomposition volatile organic compounds in soil following removal of remains from a surface deposition site
Perrault, Katelynn A.; Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Stuart, Barbara H. et al

in Forensic Science, Medicine & Pathology (2015), 11(3), 376-387

Purpose Cadaver-detection dogs use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to search for human remains including those deposited on or beneath soil. Soil can act as a sink for VOCs, causing loading of ... [more ▼]

Purpose Cadaver-detection dogs use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to search for human remains including those deposited on or beneath soil. Soil can act as a sink for VOCs, causing loading of decomposition VOCs in the soil following soft tissue decomposition. The objective of this study was to chemically profile decomposition VOCs from surface decomposition sites after remains were removed from their primary location. Methods Pig carcasses were used as human analogues and were deposited on a soil surface to decompose for 3 months. The remains were then removed from each site and VOCs were collected from the soil for 7 months & Katelynn A. Perrault katelynn.perrault@uts.edu.au thereafter and analyzed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC9GC–TOFMS). Results Decomposition VOCs diminished within 6 weeks and hydrocarbons were the most persistent compound class. Decomposition VOCs could still be detected in the soil after 7 months using Principal Component Analysis. Conclusions This study demonstrated that the decompo- sition VOC profile, while detectable by GC9GC–TOFMS in the soil, was considerably reduced and altered in com- position upon removal of remains. Chemical reference data is provided by this study for future investigations of canine alert behavior in scenarios involving scattered or scav- enged remains. [less ▲]

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See detailFast Chromatographic Method for Explosive Profiling
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Perrault, Katelynn A.; Focant, Jean-François ULg et al

in Chromatography (2015), 2

Security control is becoming a major global issue in strategic locations, such as airports, official buildings, and transit stations. The agencies responsible for public security need powerful and ... [more ▼]

Security control is becoming a major global issue in strategic locations, such as airports, official buildings, and transit stations. The agencies responsible for public security need powerful and sensitive tools to detect warfare agents and explosives. Volatile signature detection is one of the fastest and easiest ways to achieve this task. However, explosive chemicals have low volatility making their detection challenging. In this research, we developed and evaluated fast chromatographic methods to improve the characterization of volatile signatures from explosives samples. The headspace of explosives was sampled with solid phase micro-extraction fiber (SPME). Following this step, classical gas chromatography (GC) and comprehensive two-dimensional GC (GC×GC) were used for analysis. A fast GC approach allows the elution temperature of each analyte to be decreased, resulting in decreased thermal degradation of sensitive compounds (e.g., nitro explosives). Using fast GC×GC, the limit of detection is further decreased based on the cryo-focusing effect of the modulator. Sampling of explosives and chromatographic separation were optimized, and the methods then applied to commercial explosives samples. Implementation of fast GC methods will be valuable in the future for defense and security forensics applications. [less ▲]

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See detailGCxGC-TOFMS and supervised multivariate approaches to study human cadaveric decomposition olfactive signatures
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Perrault, Katelynn A.; Stadler, Sonja et al

in Analytical Bioanalytical Chemistry (2015), 407(16), 4767-4778

In forensic thanato-chemistry, the understanding of the process of soft tissue decomposition is still limited. A better understanding of the decomposition process and the characterization of the ... [more ▼]

In forensic thanato-chemistry, the understanding of the process of soft tissue decomposition is still limited. A better understanding of the decomposition process and the characterization of the associated volatile organic compounds (VOC) can help to improve the training of victim recovery (VR) canines, which are used to search for trapped victims in natural disasters or to locate corpses during criminal investigations. The complexity of matrices and the dynamic nature of this process require the use of comprehensive analytical methods for investigation. Moreover, the variability of the environment and between individuals creates additional difficulties in terms of normalization. The resolution of the complex mixture of VOCs emitted by a decaying corpse can be improved using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC× GC), compared to classical singledimensional gas chromatography (1DGC). This study combines the analytical advantages of GC×GC coupled to timeof- flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) with the data handling robustness of supervised multivariate statistics to investigate the VOC profile of human remains during early stages of decomposition. Various supervised multivariate approaches are compared to interpret the large data set. Moreover, early decomposition stages of pig carcasses (typically used as human surrogates in field studies) are also monitored to obtain a direct comparison of the two VOC profiles and estimate the robustness of this human decomposition analog model. In this research, we demonstrate that pig and human decomposition processes can be described by the same trends for the major compounds produced during the early stages of soft tissue decomposition. [less ▲]

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See detailExploring new dimensions in cadaveric decomposition odour analysis
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Perrault, Katelynn; Lloyd, Rebecca et al

in Analytical Methods (2015), 7

This study demonstrates the first documented use of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography – high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-HRTOFMS) for volatile organic compound ... [more ▼]

This study demonstrates the first documented use of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography – high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-HRTOFMS) for volatile organic compound analysis in the forensic sciences. High-resolution mass spectral data provided higher confidence in analyte identification. GC×GC-HRTOFMS will be valuable for future studies of decomposition odour and other complex volatile matrices. [less ▲]

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See detailMeasurement of Human Internal Cadaveric VOC's by GCxGC-HRTOFMS
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Varlet, Vincent; Silke et al

Conference (2015, January)

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See detailAnalytical Highlights 2015
Focant, Jean-François ULg

Conference (2015)

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See detailComparison of the Decomposition VOC Profile during Winter and Summer in a Moist, Mid-latitude (Cfb) Climate
Forbes, Shari L.; Perrault, Katelynn A.; Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(e113681), 1-11

The investigation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with decomposition is an emerging field in forensic taphonomy due to their importance in locating human remains using biological detectors ... [more ▼]

The investigation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with decomposition is an emerging field in forensic taphonomy due to their importance in locating human remains using biological detectors such as insects and canines. A consistent decomposition VOC profile has not yet been elucidated due to the intrinsic impact of the environment on the decomposition process in different climatic zones. The study of decomposition VOCs has typically occurred during the warmer months to enable chemical profiling of all decomposition stages. The present study investigated the decomposition VOC profile in air during both warmer and cooler months in a moist, mid-latitude (Cfb) climate as decomposition occurs year-round in this environment. Pig carcasses (Sus scrofa domesticus L.) were placed on a soil surface to decompose naturally and their VOC profile was monitored during the winter and summer months. Corresponding control sites were also monitored to determine the natural VOC profile of the surrounding soil and vegetation. VOC samples were collected onto sorbent tubes and analyzed using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography – time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC6GC-TOFMS). The summer months were characterized by higher temperatures and solar radiation, greater rainfall accumulation, and comparable humidity when compared to the winter months. The rate of decomposition was faster and the number and abundance of VOCs was proportionally higher in summer. However, a similar trend was observed in winter and summer demonstrating a rapid increase in VOC abundance during active decay with a second increase in abundance occurring later in the decomposition process. Sulfur-containing compounds, alcohols and ketones represented the most abundant classes of compounds in both seasons, although almost all 10 compound classes identified contributed to discriminating the stages of decomposition throughout both seasons. The advantages of GC6GC-TOFMS were demonstrated for detecting and identifying trace levels of VOCs, particularly ethers, which are rarely reported as decomposition VOCs. [less ▲]

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See detailDeveloping the sixth sense of thanato-chemistry
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Perrault, Katelynn; Varlet, Vincent et al

Scientific conference (2014, November)

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